Okay Chris Shays has lost his mind, that's a given. First he launched a bizarre attack on Ted Kennedy before going on to liken the torture at Abu Ghraib to a weekend at Plato's Retreat, and now as a Republican congressman up for re-election in the state of Connecticut he says that Lieberman is a "national treasure" and that Joe's victory is more important than his own.
The GOP seems to be in the midst of a meltdown that Shays typifies — they've lost their bearings, they have completely unrealistic assessments of the situation they face, and they can't play defense. They just keep stumbling around like a pack of drunken frat boys who can't find their car keys, saying weird and irrational things.
But the one thing that seems to unite them all: they place a curious hope in the future of Joe Lieberman.
As Colin McEnroe says, during Monday's debate Lieberman betrayed his feelings of entitlement to anything he wants from the GOP:
Lieberman unintentionally disclosed another thing he believes: that the fix is in and that he doesn't have to worry about Republican opposition. He actually said it! He said he wasn't expecting an attack from the Republican side! Remember, he got a phone call from Karl Rove right after the primary. From that day until this, his campaign has been oozing Republican gravy. He gets their money, and he gets their tactical support. The only thing they have not been able to do for Joe Lieberman is find the "off" switch on Alan Schlesinger.
I was at dinner last night and I heard a rumor I've heard several times recently, and is just a rumor but it goes something like this. Following his primary loss in Connecticut to Ned Lamont, Lieberman was so humiliated that he was willing to do anything to save face. He knew his only chance to win was to lock down everything on the Republican side of the aisle, and so he made a deal with Rove and the GOP — they would support him in any way possible, giving him money, advice, Dick Cheney stumping for him, and keeping Alan Schlessinger in the race as the Republican candidate even as they refused to endorse or support him.
In return (and I've heard different versions of this) Lieberman is given either the Secretary of Defense post (this is the Alterman theory) or a Supreme Court seat. Since GOP governor Jodi Rell is well ahead in the polls and will likely win re-election, this means that the task of appointing a replacement will fall to her and the seat will go to a Republican. Lieberman doesn't even have to switch parties and caucus with the GOP. In a close Senate battle it could easily be the move that takes control of the Senate out of the hands of the Democrats.
Lieberman has obviously reached some sort of agreement with Rove and the Republicans for their support in the state. Why aren't the press looking into the details of that deal? Enquiring minds want to know what he has promised in return. There is no free ride with the GOP.
I have no idea if the rumor is true or not. All I can say is that I believe with some confidence that Lieberman will keep running his mouth and talking trash about Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and other Democratic leaders he seems to have absolutely no fear of facing again in Washington DC. And that they, as they have done before, will accept this bitchslapping from No Show Joe with a smile, clinging to the hope that he will caucus with the Dems if he wins in November.
Looks like the GOP isn't the only party full of Peter Pans.
(photo Paul Bass)